I certainly biased when it comes to decide in which city in the worlds, I like to shop most! Well, it’s Paris. The birthplace of many of the most coveted luxury brands on the planet, Paris is for me the ultimate destination for label lovers. The city is also home to the biggest names in beauty, watchmaking, leather goods and jewellery.
Shop like a Parisian by browning the boutiques of Saint Germain des Près and stumble across unique pieces, or strut your way around Le Marais to discover emerging designers and uncover vintage thrift shops.
For a bespoke perfume blend, head to my friend Stephanie de Bruijn at 52 rue de l’université.
To step up your footwear, check out Alix de la Forest at 29 rue Lemercier which invites shoppers to choose form myriad materials, prints and heel styles and a palette of 150 colours to create the shoe of your dreams. Read on and enjoy!
- Can you describe why Paris is great for shopping – what makes the city so special?
Paris fashion capital! The place were most of the international couturiers are all meeting to expose their new creations to the world. The capital had never had so much well-known fashion and cosmetics brands from L’Oréal to Guerlain to Dior to Chanel! The biggest names in perfumery, cosmetics, watchmaking, leather goods and jewellery are in Paris. All the prominent fashion designers of the world work or have worked for a Parisian Maison de Haute Couture or ready to wear brand. The city owns plenty of upscale hotels and spa, and the most renowned chefs have their restaurants in the best areas of town. Paris is the world capital of luxury!
Look wise; the Parisians are elegant flirting with chic, bohemian and rock-mantic styles. What makes the city of love so special is the variety of styles and the uniqueness of pieces findable in the capital. You can stroll through the streets of Saint-Germain to discover the quintessence of chicness and elegance à la Parisienne. Strut the Marais to find the boutiques of up and coming designers and uncover vintage thrift shops where you’ll find rare and unique pieces of fashion. The flea market of Clignancourt is also a good place to shop for unique accessories, jewellery, and others handmade items.
- What are your top five luxury shopping stop offs in the city that aren’t to be missed and why?
- Faubourg St Honoré
The Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré stands out as one of the most iconic places for luxury shopping. Fully dedicated to fashion and design. It owns the boutiques of the great couturiers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Hermes, or Prada.
- Place Vendôme /Rue de la Paix
The rue de la Paix and the Place Vendome have a strong concentration of the greatest jewellers and jewellers of Paris such as Cartier, Mauboussin, Chanel, Van Cleef, and Boucheron.
- Avenue Montaigne
The major couture houses have historically been installed since their creation on Avenue Montaigne. There are the main boutiques of designers such as Gucci, Prada, Lanvin, Cartier, La Perla, Chanel, Hermès, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce and Gabbana.
Saint-Germain-des-Près is very popular with the French intellectuals because of the presence of numerous bookshops and boutiques of ancient books. It also offers a variety of shops amazingly decorated and benefiting from an exceptional architecture. The big brands of ready-to-wear have all their stores on the Boulevard Saint-Germain such as Célio, Caroll, and much more. Rue de Rennes is home to high street names like H & M, Zara, or the very French Etam. You have the option to upgrade your shopping and hang around St Sulpice for luxury brands or designers like Sonia Rykiel or Paco Rabanne,).
- Avenue des Champs Elysées
“The most beautiful avenue in the world”, this is how the Champs Elysées is known among the French. Whilst everyone may not agree, it is certainly a Paris must-see, and like the Eiffel Tower a symbol of Paris.
This iconic two-kilometre avenue stretches between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe.
You can easily stay a whole day in the area and feel like you’ve seen a lot. The avenue is lined with car showrooms (Ferrari…), restaurants, pubs and bars (Fouquet’s, La Durée, Lenôtre), luxury boutiques (Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Guerlain, Lancel, and Lacoste, flagship stores (Banana Republic, Abercrombie, Sephora etc.) and nightclubs.
Finally, the Avenue des Champs-Elysées has some of the top museums in Paris: The Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Palais de la Découverte and the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton. A little Paris in Paris, you would be also able to enjoy the free Wi-Fi is available on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
- Where should we go for bespoke/tailored/customised items?
Perfume: Stéphanie de Bruijn – 52, Rue de l’Université, 75007 PARIS
The pinnacle of the luxury, create your own perfume! Stéphanie de Bruijn welcomes you (appointment only) in
her luxury “Boudoir” of bespoke perfume in the 7th arrrondissement of Paris. She will talk to you and create a bespoke perfume that matches your needs, your likes, and your personality. At the end of the process, your perfume will be delivered to you in a luxury bespoke Cristal perfume bottle.
Shoes: Alix de la Forest – 29 Rue Lemercier, 75017 Paris, France
Alix de la Forest is a palette of 150 colours, the choice of amazing material, prints and heels. You will end up having the shoes of your dream and even pick the width of your shoes! Say bye to pitchy shoes! Bonus, a real playground for the designer in you!
- Tell us your best kept (until now) shopping secret. (Somewhere we may not know about).
The Beaugrenelle Shopping Centre, located near the Trocadero and not far from the Eiffel Tower on Rue de Passy, the Beaugrenelle Shopping Centre is one of the most bourgeois streets in Paris. This makes it an excellent place to do high-end shopping and discover new local brands. Opened in 2013, it is still very much frequented by locals and stays quite intimate, great news, you will have the choice amongst 110 brands.
- What are the top 3 department stores in the city and why?
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is famous for its stunning century-old stained-glass dome, arching over the stellar Beauty department. A global event-based retail and fashion leader, Galeries Lafayette has become a Paris icon since its creation in 1894, and a must-visit venue in the capital. It offers 70,000 square metres of retail floor space dedicated to fashion with 3 buildings, 25 restaurants, and more than 3,500 brands from around the world, you can shop from the affordable to the luxury. Located in the Opera area, this department store is the paradise for tourists. The wideness of the collections will allow you to find really different styles but still from reputed brands. Each floor has its particularities: bags, jewels, suits, dresses, shoes… The cafeteria on the last floor allows you to have a view on the Paris’s roof. Topissime!
Printemps is Galeries Lafayette, frenemy, smaller, maybe more intimate, it is said to be the more authentically Parisian where you can find everything you didn’t even know you wanted.
A listed historical monument, its Art Nouveau architecture has plenty of wow factor, and over the last few years, under new owners, it’s been transformed into a serious fashion destination and this is where it really excels today; an entire floor is devoted to shoes, and the beauty department stocks more than 200 brands from Chanel to Dior, to YSL or Hermès.
In Printemps de la Mode, French designers sit alongside all the big international designers. The Fashion Loft offers a very stylish take on current trends.
A little craving? For fast refuelling, Printemps has a tea room, a sushi bar and Alain Ducasse’s bakery Café Be where you could enjoy the best French patisseries. Do head up to the rooftop café Le Déli-cieux, on the ninth floor of Printemps Maison, for a drink on the terrace with wonderful views across Paris.
To keep a loyal client base Printemps offers a bouquet of flowers (Store’s emblem) to customers for the first day of spring every year.
The city’s oldest department store, and probably the most luxurious one. In the 6th arrondissement, where the Parisians old money mostly resides, the most refined brands are gathered in this historical building, known as one the creator of the concept of department store
Head up to the fashion floor, which has an excellent selection of global designer labels, from Lanvin to Claudie Pierlot. Designer names also abound in Balthazar, the prestigious men’s section.
Today, Le Bon Marché is a reference in the world of department stores. As a precursor, it is an emblem of French luxury and shaped the image of the famous, stylistic, and independent Parisian that continues to fascinate the whole world.
- What homegrown designers/labels/stores should we check out?
Suite 341: 38/40 avenue des Gobelins, 75013 Paris
It is a French concept-store launched in 2011. “341”, which reads in English “three fo(u)r one” offers three designer brands reunited in a single space. You will be able to find pieces from the very French brands Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot. An invitation to mix and match!
Erotokritos – 109 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris
The brand takes its name from its creator Erotokritos Antoniadis. The couturier celebrates Parisian chic in a modern and colourful style. The collections, originally exclusively feminine, also include a line of ready-to-wear masculine and a selection of accessories.
Matières à reflexion, 19 Rue de Poitou, 75003 Paris
Range of bags created from vintage leather, clothing, shoes, jewellery and trendy accessories for women.
- Any other highlights for GCC travellers?
Shopping outlet de Créateurs – Vallée Village
A designer shopping outlet located close to Disneyland Paris. You’ll find the biggest brands at unbeatable prices.
Le Coiffeur de Pleine Lune, 40 rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris
Maachi Djelani has kept his salon open all night when there’s a full moon, working on the apparently ancient theory that during a full moon the hair follicles are stimulated, meaning better and stronger hair growth, post-cut. A strange but worth experience shopping experience.